Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Paula Deen Deletes Tweet of Son Bobby Deen in Brownface

From the Us via the Houston Chronicle:

Oh no. Two years after Paula Deen’s career imploded after she admitted to using racial slurs toward African-Americans, the famed chef has committed another tone-deaf faux pas, posting then deleting a photo of her son Bobby Deen sporting brownface.

More here.

So, what was it, a couple of years ago? I took a lot of shit from people for posting about how lame and racist Paula Deen is. I mean, I got a lot of support, too, but there was definitely a large contingent of commenters who either didn't get it or refused to get it.

Maybe now that the Confederate battle flags are coming down, we can revisit this a bit.

My point was never about her usage of the n-word thirty years ago. Sure, that was lame, but uttering one word one time three decades ago doesn't indict a person forever. But that seems to have been the white conservative understanding of what the scandal was about: liberals taking down the beloved TV chef because she said the wrong word a very long time ago. And it seemed IMPOSSIBLE to talk to them about anything else.

That is, the REAL problem with Paula Deen was her glorification of the Old South, something that isn't thirty years ago, but two years ago, manifest as her plans to host what I was calling a "Sambo wedding" for her son, complete with an all black waitstaff, dressed like the Cream of Wheat black guy. Because the Old South was "beautiful."

I suppose I could have just as easily called it an "Uncle Tom wedding," or a "minstrel show wedding," whatever. The point is that in 2012 or 13, Paula Deen was, and almost certainly still is, a lover of the Confederacy and Jim Crow, romanticizing away all the brutality and racism, leaving behind only the Gone with the Wind fantasy, complete with happy and stupid black people waiting hand and foot on superior white people.

That was ALWAYS the problem with Paula Deen's celebrity status. Her glorification of racism using decades old white cultural codes. The n-word was only the tip of the iceberg on this, a symptom, not the disease. Back when the story broke, I tried to explain why that's so extraordinarily problematic. I mean, when you erase the sins of the Old South, to a great extent, you're trying to erase racism today. And when I say "erase," I mean sweep under the rug.

I sincerely hope, now that the American mainstream appears ready to accept that the Confederate battle flag does NOT represent innocent "heritage," or whatever bullshit is used to justify displaying it, that people are ready to accept that the Paula Deens of this world, all the romanticizers of the bloody and sick Old South, are pushing racism.

I mean, she really is pushing racism.